First Thursdays

October Weather and Public Safety Notice

Due to forecasted rain, the October First Thursday Festival will move inside into the IU Auditorium and surrounding buildings including the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, the Eskenazi Museum of Art, the Grunwald Gallery of Art, and the Lilly Library. 

In accordance with IU Covid policies, all guests, staff, and volunteers are required to wear masks indoors. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available to everyone at stations throughout the festival. 

Celebrating Creativity & Community

First Thursdays festivals showcase the diversity of arts and humanities at IU Bloomington and offer a welcoming environment for students and other community members to explore new creative outlets and engage with the work of their peers and faculty members. Previous festivities have included everything from opera signers to breakdancers, stage-fighting to clay-throwing, and much, much more. Each First Thursday is unique opportunity to experience the wonderful work of artists, performers, and scholars from all across campus and around town.

The Fall 2021 festivals will celebrate the enduring strength of Hoosier creativity with stages, booths, and other venues for students, faculty, and community members to share their creative endeavors. 

Join us October 7, 5-8pm, as we highlight the creative energies of some of IU Bloomington's best student performance groups. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Jacobs School of Music's amazing Mariachi Perla del Medio Oestes will get the festivities started. Then we'll celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic IU Soul Revue with performances by all three ensembles from the African American Arts Institute -- the Soul Revue, the African American Choral Ensemble, and the African American Dance Company.

Visiting Artist's Talk

zakkiyyah najeebah dumas-o'neal

7:00pm, Eskenazi Museum of Art & Virtual

zakkiyyah najeebah dumas-o’neal discusses her artistic practice, which prioritizes queer social relations, Black women’s identity formation, family, social architectures and the desire for connectedness. dumas-o'neal is visiting IU Bloomington as part of the Engaged Artist-In-Residence program in the Gayle Karch Cook Center for Public Arts & Humanities. 

More about the event

More about the Engaged Artist-In-Residence



Most of the October First Thursday performances will take place inside IU Auditorium, with the notable exception of IU Soul Revue, who will be performing in the Neal-Marshall Grand Hall. 


Mariachi Perla del Medio Oeste was created in 2018 as a joint initiative between the Latin American Music Center at the Jacobs School of Music, the La Casa/Latino Cultural Center and the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. The group is a volunteer ensemble committed to the cultivation and promotion of Mexican-American,  Mexican and Latin American music and culture, both within IU and the larger Southern Indiana region. Its members include IU undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the larger Bloomington community. Over the years, the mariachi has counted with the participation of musicians originally from the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Peru, Spain, and Venezuela. 

The ensemble performs regularly for a variety of campus events, local festivals, and private parties. The group is committed to working with musicians from a broad range of musical backgrounds and abilities and is always open to considering new members. Rehearsals take place most Sundays between 3-4:30pm, during the Fall and Spring semesters. Anyone interested in more information about the group should contact Javier León (


For 50 years, the IU Soul Revue is America’s first and finest collegiate Black popular music ensemble. Directed by James Strong, the Soul Revue is famous for dynamic performances of R&B, soul, funk, and contemporary Black popular music. This First Thursdays performance officially kicks off theIU Soul Revue 50th Anniversary Celebration!

IU’s African American Arts Institute (AAAI) is the nation’s only program that manages credit-bearing ensembles—the IU Soul Revue, the African American Choral Ensemble, and the African American Dance Company—dedicated to the performance of Black music and dance. Don’t miss their legendary performances in  Potpourri of the Arts in the African American Tradition on Nov. 14, 3 p.m. at IU Auditorium! 

Use promo code FirstThursdays for $10 student tickets (expires 10/10 at 11:59 p.m.)


Based in Bloomington, Indiana, the Eastern European Ensemble performs unique renditions of folk music from the Balkans. From the slow love songs to the fast and furious dance tunes, their repertoire includes music from Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia & more.


The Emmy-award winning African American Choral Ensemble preserves the legacy of African American choral music through transformative interpretations of this unique American art form. Directed by Dr. Raymond Wise, the Choral Ensemble features a broad repertoire of spirituals, folk forms, traditional and contemporary gospel music, and formally composed works by Black composers.

IU’s African American Arts Institute (AAAI) is the nation’s only program that manages credit-bearing ensembles—the IU Soul Revue, the African American Choral Ensemble, and the African American Dance Company—dedicated to the performance of Black music and dance. Don’t miss their legendary performances in  Potpourri of the Arts in the African American Tradition on Nov. 14, 3 p.m. at IU Auditorium! 

Use promo code FirstThursdays for $10 student tickets (expires 10/10 at 11:59 p.m.)


Students within the Contemporary Dance Department look forward to sharing their artistry with the Bloomigton community as well as their fellow students and peers. Being unable to move, express, and create with one another last year was a true challenge, so these dancers are thrilled to communicate their natural language and passion with others. Today, majors ranging from Freshman to Seniors will perform some preview choreographic work being created by the Junior class for their performance later in the Fall, as well as a dance generated by all those who were willing to make something special for this First Thursdays!


The legendary African American Dance Company shares movement traditions from Africa, the Diaspora, and from African American culture. Directed by Baba Stafford C. Berry Jr., the Dance Company’s repertoire includes African dance styles, contemporary, modern, jazz, hip-hop, and various cultural forms.

IU’s African American Arts Institute (AAAI) is the nation’s only program that manages credit-bearing ensembles—the IU Soul Revue, the African American Choral Ensemble, and the African American Dance Company—dedicated to the performance of Black music and dance. Don’t miss their legendary performances in  Potpourri of the Arts in the African American Tradition on Nov. 14, 3 p.m. at IU Auditorium! 

Use promo code FirstThursdays for $10 student tickets (expires 10/10 at 11:59 p.m.)

Artists Row Presented by Baird

Situated within the IU Auditorium first floor lobby, Artists Row Presented by Baird is a space for student and community artists to share and sell their work. Each month's Artists Row features a dozen or more artists working in a variety of different media. 

See the October Artists Row Lineup

Festival Booths - IU Auditorium First Floor

The IU Auditorium first floor will feature dozens of festival booths where you can try your hand at different creativy activities and learn more about the great happenings in the arts and humanities going on across campus this semester.

Did you know that Indiana University’s African American Arts Institute (AAAI) is the only program of its kind since 1974? The AAAI offers all students the chance to study and perform African American aesthetics in music and dance—from Gospel to African dance forms to hip hop and R&B. Enter to win tickets to the AAAI’s famous concert: Potpourri of the Arts in the African American Tradition. A concert like no other, featuring the AAAI’s three ensembles—the African American Dance Company, the African American Choral Ensemble, and the IU Soul Revue—at IU Auditorium on November 14th at 3:00pm. Learn more at

Color Field Community is an extension of Eskenazi's Fibers color field dye garden. This past summer/fall, we have extended a public art aspect for IU Fibers in partnership with Hilltop Garden and Nature Center to teach community members how to cultivate, harvest and use natural dyes. This First Thursdays, Color Field Community will be welcoming natural dyers to make their own color spectrum wares.

The First Nations Educational and Cultural Center will be discussing Land Acknowledgement and the ways in which the public can engage with Indigenous Peoples' Day - Monday, October 11. We will also be selling our Indigenize Indiana Tshirts which feature "Indiana University" written in the languages of those Tribes indigenous to this area.

At the IU Auditorium booth, attendees can expect to hear and learn about our upcoming shows. Some exciting shows coming to IU Auditorium soon include Dennis James Hosts Halloween on October 27, Broadway legend and Emmy and Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth on October 30, RAIN – A Tribute to The Beatles on November 3, and the Broadway musical Anastasia on November 9 and 10. Make sure to stop by for a chance to win tickets to see Kristin Chenoweth live in Bloomington!

Halloween is fast approaching! To prepare, IUMAA staff will be on hand to demonstrate pumpkin carving with stone tools. The IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is the newest museum on campus and its collections include over 5 million artifacts that span across a broad range of the human experience from Indiana’s first peoples to contemporary communities around the globe.

Swing by the IU Jacobs School of Music table to hear about the celebrations for their 100th year, courses available to non-majors, and how you can re-connect with live performances again! With 1,100+ performances each year and online viewing options, there’s something for everyone at the Jacobs School of Music.

La Casa/Latino Cultural Center at IU Bloomington eases the transition to college for Latino students with academic support, tutoring, cultural activities, and more. In collaboration with campus and community partners, the center also assists with recruitment and retention initiatives. Participants will be painting gourds.

Do you know where the Office of International Services is located on campus? How many different ways can you say, "Welcome to IU"? Do you know how many countries are represented in Bloomington? Stop by the Office of International Services table to test your language skills as well as your IU trivia knowledge for a chance to win an IU brandana!

This fall’s College theme explores resilience with discussions, films, and talks through the semester. Find out more and pick up a free Themester poster or T-shirt. The Themester booth also offers two activities to boost your resilience depending on how much time you have: an outdoor painting workshop and an opportunity to send a postcard home. Never painted before? Our visiting artist will show you how. Never sent a postcard before? We have examples! All supplies provided. 

BONUS: While supplies last, the Themester booth will also offer a special “Bring Back the Bison” T-shirt. Learn about the underground effort to bring back a long-forgotten IU mascot.

Humanities Salon - IU Auditorium First Floor

Visit the Humanities Salon to learn more about cultural studies, foreign languages, and other forms of expression and inquiry that help us make sense of what it means to be human. 

Join us for interactive games and activities, including learning your Akan name, adinkra stamping, Owari/Mankala, and more! We will also have info on the student org African Languages & Cultures Club, traditional African clothing, African comic books, and even more for you to explore! ASP offers six languages at IU including the West African languages of Akan, Bamana, and Yoruba, Southern African language of Zulu, and Central and Eastern African languages of Kinyarwanda and KiSwahili. We award FLAS scholarships in these, as well as Arabic (for Northern Africa). Our culture courses give you the knowledge you need for a successful career in this globally connected world.

Come type up a poem on a vintage typewriter, play literary-themed games, and hope to win a prize!

The Folklore & Ethnomusicology Student Association (FESA) is an undergraduate student association that aims to bring together like-minded individuals, regardless of if they are majors in our department or not, who are passionate or interested about folklore and ethnomusicology. Attendees should expect Halloween-themed coloring pages, trick-or-treat style candy handouts, and spooky games at our table, as well as some information about our organization--especially our upcoming Ghost Walk!

Where is Pompeii, the ancient Italian city buried under volcanic ash? In which part of France is the real champagne made? In which region of France is nearly 30% of the population comprised of immigrants? Come visit the Department of French and Italian’s booth in the Humanities Salon to explore the geography of Italy and France and what is unique about each region. Test your knowledge of regional characteristics and locations of renowned sites to win sweet prizes. We will also continue our tradition of hands-on First Thursday activities with marshmallow/toothpick construction of the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and other famous structures. And of course our beloved trivia wheel will be back with new questions about the cultures, history, and languages of France, Italy, and the French-speaking regions of the world. Join us!

The History Undergraduate Student Association, HUSA for short, is the student-run social group for the study of history at IU. We are open to majors and nonmajors, and seek to bring together lovers of history through informal as well as educational and professional events. Come by our booth to win prizes and learn more about the department of history at IU!

Stop by Spanish and Portuguese and learn more about the richness and diversity of the cultures and languages from Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, and how our minors and majors enhance every career! Explore our study abroad programs and connect with our theater and performance group Vida, and our conversation clubs in Spanish and Portuguese. There will be music and games, so don’t miss the opportunity!

The Dhar India Studies Program booth will feature button-making with greetings in your choice of several Indic languages, and a culture/history quiz about South Asia.

Come learn something in Arabic, Chinese, or Russian and explore the IU Language Flagship programs! We offer lots of great benefits like study abroad experiences, free weekly tutoring with native speakers, and special program scholarships.

Did you know that Latinos now comprise over 18% of the U.S. population, and that percentage is projected to exceed 25% in the coming years? Come to our table and learn some more interesting facts about Latinx history and culture. We will also be providing some information about our courses, activities, and how to get involved!

The R F Byrnes Russian and East European Institute (REEI) is the hub for all study, research, and programming related to Russia and Eastern Europe on the IU-Bloomington campus. Our booth will feature information about REEI academic programs and outreach activities as well as an assortment of activities and artefacts from Russia/Eastern Europe. REEI is also sponsoring the performance of Bloomington's own Eastern European Ensemble on the Second Stage.

Student Festival Booths - IU Auditorium Second Floor

The second floor of IU Auditorium will feature fun activitie presented by IU student organizations and departments focused on the student experience. 

Canvas Creative Arts is a platform for up-and-coming artists and writers. Through diverse programming focused on creativity and unique perspectives, Canvas seeks to educate, entertain, and foster an artistic community on campus. For more information about the Canvas Creative Arts Committee, email

Collins LLC's Board of Educational Programming will be running a table with trivia about Collins and trivia questions from some of the topics that we are offering seminars about in the spring. We'll also have a Little Prince themed sidewalk chalk activity, as the Little Prince is our theme book for Welcome Week and the semester, and handouts about the LLC and our course offerings which are open to all.

HHart is a unique student and staff collaboration that organizes art events for students from all majors and focuses on providing a platform for artists whose talents and perspectives are underrepresented in art spaces. Stop by and help us create an environmentally-friendly collaborative collage using magazines!

Take a moment to thank our local heroes. Visit the IU Corps booth to use die-cutting and embossing machines to create personalized Thank You cards for our local healthcare workers at Bloomington Hospital. Following the event, IU Corps will deliver all cards to IU Health Bloomington Hospital on behalf of the Indiana University Bloomington campus.

Muslim Women is a diverse organization comprised of women, men, Muslims and non-Muslims that works for the empowerment of Muslim women and their communities through activism, education, interfaith dialogue, and other community engagements. 


Overseas study is one of the most effective experiences students can have to experience arts and humanities on a global scale, to broaden their intercultural awareness, to learn about a specific country/region, to acquire language skills, and to strengthen a range of personal skills. Start your study abroad journey by stopping by Overseas Study's table for more info and a study abroad photo trivia game - be inspired by all the places Hoosiers can g

Over the next couple of months, up to 7,000 Afghan refugees will be temporarily relocated to Camp Atterbury in southern Indiana. This booth seeks to educate students, faculty, staff, and community members about the situation in Afghanistan and the ongoing refugee crisis in order to foster a welcoming community towards resettled Afghans. Attendees will have opportunities to engage in conversation with experts about the current situation; learn basic phrases in Pashto and Dari (the official languages of Afghanistan); make greeting cards (in English, Pashto, and/or Dari) to be delivered to refugees at Camp Atterbury; and make donations to support the material needs of Afghan refugees. This booth is organized by The Association of Central Eurasian Students and Seeking Refuge (a student organization dedicated to educating students about global refugee crises and organizing aid and integration efforts) and is supported by the Hamilton Lugar School.

Did you know that Indiana University has only one greek organization founded on multiculturalism? The Upsilon Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. was founded at Indiana University & exists as the only multicultural-based greek organization on campus. Meet our diverse sisterhood as we celebrate LGBTQ History Month & Hispanic Heritage Month! We will be offering coloring pages with queer & Latinx icons. Stop by to hear about LGBTQ History or Latinx icons & their contributions to the community.

Tiny Dorm Concerts is a concert series featuring local artists and traveling musicians. Tiny Dorm Concerts produces videos of the performances and publishes them on Youtube for all to see. Attendees should expect to make a CD art project that they will be able to take home, as well as information about Tiny Dorm Concerts.

Scare Away Stigma is a U Bring Change to Mind event in collaboration with the First Thursday Festivals during Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 3rd-9th) that challenges harmful portrayals of mental illness in popular media. During this event, participants will have the opportunity to decorate pumpkins with positive messages related to mental health and wellness, eat fun-sized Halloween candy, and start the conversation about the depictions of mental illness in popular culture. Come out to the October First Thursdays Festival to help end stigma!

Design Corner - IU Auditorium Third Floor

On the third floor of the IU Auditorium you can experience the intersection of technology and creativity at the Design Corner and learn about cool projects from IU's top designers. 

The Master of Arts in Arts Administration (MAAA) Program in the IU O’Neill School prepares students to advance their career as arts leaders. Faculty and partners provide a mixture of practice and research based insights that examine critical topics in arts administration from many perspectives. Focusing on the intersection of management acumen, public value, and practical experience the program provides a strong foundation for students to tackle emerging challenges in the creative ecosystem. Visit us at the First Thursdays Festival to explore arts administration and its role in your cultural experience.

Come experience an interactive demonstration of the Brain Computer Interface for STEAM education, designed in collaboration between IU’s Intelligent Systems Engineering (ISE) department, Wonderlab, and the Living Architecture Systems Group (LASG, the artists who created Amatria located at the top of Luddy Hall)! See your thoughts put into action as the brain waves of each participant control the movement and sounds of small robotic devices designed by LASG. With support from the Public Arts & Humanities grant, we are designing a classroom STEAM experience that will engage students in artistic expression, computer science, engineering, and neuroscience. You can test our prototype system, or see it tested on others, and give us feedback on what you learn and how we could improve the design moving forward. At the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, a teacher education workshop will be conducted through Wonderlab, and ISE will be making the finalized kits available to Indiana teachers for use in their middle- and high-school classrooms.

The Center of Excellence for Women & Technology empowers women to gain tech skills and become leaders in the field. Join us at First Thursdays to learn more about our Center's offerings and play with some of our tech gear! We are open to all ages and tech experience levels

Join the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center in building fascinators, formal headpieces designed by architect Philip Beesley. Trembling with movement, the fascinator echoes the sculpture, Amatria, which is suspended in the fourth floor atrium of Indiana University’s Luddy Hall. Each kit has a pair of mylar fronds that are joined to a tear-drop glass vessel filled with copper sulphate, creating a beautiful contrast of white and silver on blue. If you would like to keep your fascinator, there is a materials cost of $21.

The International Interior Design Association at Indiana University Campus Center is a student campus chapter of IIDA that provides professional connections and real-world experience to students. We aim to build community, advocate for the interior design field, and promote academic excellence. IIDA students will be hosting an interior design trivia game, a "Design your Dorm" activity, and will be handing out candy to participants. 

Enjoy four unique video games developed entirely by students at IU as their senior project: Midnight Customers, Hamster Blitz, Breach of Space, and Possession Obsession! Experience multiplayer mayhem as devil interns attempting to win the boss's favor or as hamsters racing around a house to drive away mice invaders. Individually, discover the cosmic horror behind a late-night convenience store or sabotage invading robots to prevent them from terraforming your planet.

Tell us your story about what you are doing to have a more resilient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly life. Learn about what IUB is doing to meet environmental challenges and how you can be involved.

The Luddy School Design and Fabrication Labs are well-apportioned spaces for education and research. In our spaces design processes drive projects where technology meets analog making practices. Laser cutting, 3D printing, and CNC machining operations are integrated with electronics, coding, and materials explorations in fields such as health informatics, human computer interaction, and intelligent systems engineering. At our booth, participants can expect to see past student and faculty projects, and 3D printers in operation.

Young voices are critical to building a better democracy! Visit the Political and Civic Engagement (PACE) Program’s booth and express your voice on issues that impact you and fellow students. We recognize the 50th anniversary of the ratification of the 26th amendment this year, which lowered the voting age to 18 years old. Come by to share your thoughts on public issues, register to vote, learn about your voting status, and engage in interactive activities. Hope to see you!

Reduce your stress and let your creative spirit flow as you celebrate the season with crafts you can use to decorate your room or apartment for the fall. Visit with our staff to learn more about building your Hoosier Experience.

The Scholars' Commons is the place to come to connect to experts, learning opportunities, and resources that can help you be successful. We will have an origami activity and storytelling to highlight the ways that connecting to creativity can enrich and enliven your academic journey. Come join us and learn about the resources we can provide in fun and engaging ways!

The UITS RT-V Advanced Visualization Lab (AVL) promotes and supports the innovative application of visual technologies to enhance research, education, creative activity, and community outreach missions of IU. The AVL provides expert consulting services, outreach and training opportunities, and learning resources related to scientific visualization, advanced image acquisition, and advanced display systems. The majority of AVL display technologies are installed in a range of accessible campus spaces, such as lobbies, museums, workspaces, and Student Technology Centers (STCs); other advanced experimental imaging and visualization technologies are accessible by appointment in centrally located AVL spaces, such as the NEXT Labs at IU Bloomington and IUPUI. Stop by our booth to view examples of advanced visualization technologies in an entertaining and engaging way. We will highlight examples of 3D printing, advanced laser cutting and engraving, as well as various projection technologies.

Around the Plaza

While IU Auditorium is hopping on First Thursday, there will be plenty to explore in the buildings around the plaza too. Step inside and explore some of the coolest spaces on the Bloomington campus.

Visiting Artist Talk: zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o’neal | 7 p.m. | second floor, Patrick and Jane Martin Commons or Zoom | zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o’neal discusses her artistic practice, which prioritizes queer social relations, Black women’s identity formation, family, social architectures, and the desire for connectedness. | This program is supported by the Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council, and through the Arts and Humanities Council, which is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Cook Center Artist-in-Residence Program.

Open Studio | 5 - 6 p.m. | second floor, Roehm Family Art-making Studio | Take your own photographs inspired by the work of visiting artist zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o’neal. Each quest will be invited to explore themes of identity, family, and connection that are present in her work and take their own picture that represents one of these themes. Guest will be invited to use the supplies in the art-making studio to make props that help illustrate their ideas.

Curator Talk: Inquiring Lines: Albrecht Dürer and The Pursuit of Knowledge |  5:15-6 p.m. | third floor, Moravec Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Gallery | Join Fess Graduate Assistant Leah Chizek for an in-depth look at Albrecht Dürer’s printmaking career.

Live Music | jazz duo | 5-7 p.m. | atrium

Seven Galleries to Explore | until 7:00 p.m.

Self-guided experiences:

  • I’m here exploring SOCIAL JUSTICE: thoughtful ways to challenge and expand perspectives
  • I’m here to RELAX & REFLECT: healthy ways to treat yourself to self-care
  • We’re here TOGETHER: creative ways to connect and experience art together
  • I’m here to engage with CULTURES: simple ways to spark curiosity and engage with art from any culture

The Friends of Art Bookshop will also open in the Fine Arts Building near the Grunwald Gallery selling art supplies, textbooks, posters, and student art works and will be making and selling buttons for the October First Thursdays!

The Grunwald Gallery presents the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design Faculty Exhibition, containing artworks created by more than fifty faculty artists. Works in a variety of media from artists in several disciplines will be included, with examples from fashion designers and architects, as well as artists working in textiles, printmaking, ceramics, graphic design, sculpture, digital art, video, photography, painting, metalsmithing, and design. Exhibiting artists include tenured, tenure-track, visiting and emeritus faculty.

Join us in celebrating the reopening of the newly renovated Lilly Library! Currently on exhibit is “The Eye, the Mind, and the Imagination: The Collectors of the Lilly Library,” which celebrate the collectors of rare books and manuscripts whose passions helped build our world-renowned collections. Not only will you see some of our most famous treasures, including the Gutenberg New Testament, Audubon’s Birds of America, and Shakespeare’s First Folio, but you will also see them displayed more beautifully than ever in custom-built cases and refurbished galleries which modernize our spaces while also retaining the classic charm of the library’s sixty-year history. You can also visit the inspirational cycle of murals by artist Ralph Gilbert, new in our Reading Room.

Food Trucks!

The October First Thursday will feature IU's food truck, plus several local favorites in front of IU Auditorium and around the Arts Plaza.


Be a First Thursdays Hero!

The First Thursdays festivals wouldn't be possible without the hard work and dedication of a small army of student volunteers. Our volunteers are an eclectic group from different academic majors and backgrounds, but they share a common passsion for the arts and humanities and a desire to share the transformative power of creativity with our community. For their service, volunteers receive a free First Thursdays t-shirt, a voucher for free food from the First Thursdays food trucks, and the undying gratitude of the Arts & Humanities Council. 

Sign Up to Volunteer at First Thursdays